by Akan Ido
There are indications that following the release of his book, ‘The Accidental Public Servant,’ Nasir el-Rufai, the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) may face questioning and likely prosecution for allegedly breaching the Official Secrets Act by reproducing restricted and classified government documents in the memoir.
Reports say the book is being carefully studied by relevant agencies of government with a view to ascertaining whether the former minister contravened extant laws by allegedly making public classified documents belonging to the government.
Sources say, “The Official Secrets Act, which only ensures that classified documents are de-classified only after 10 years provides that— a person who (a) transmits any classified matter to a person to whom he is not authorised on behalf of the government to transmit it; or (b) obtains, reproduces or retains any classified matter which he is not authorised on behalf of the government to obtain, reproduce or retain, as the case may be, is guilty of an offence.
“We are taking a close look at el-Rufai’s book as it relates to the ‘massive reproduction of classified documents’ and may invoke the necessary sections of the law where breaches are occurred.’
The source noted that “invoking the relevant law as it relates to breaches of the official secrets act is to ensure that classified documents remain classified as prescribed by law.”
el-Rufai allegedly published Federal Government of Nigeria’s classified memo from the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President dated June 7, 2007 entitled ‘Re: Sale of FGN Houses in Abuja-Disposal of former Presidential Guest Houses attached to the office of the Vice-President.’
The sources who preferred to remain anonymous concluded saying, “All I can tell you now is that as a responsible agent of the state,we will not allow such a thing like this to go unchallenged,by the time we finish our assignment, we will act in accordance with the law of the land, nobody is above the laws of the land.”